On October 7 students in schools across the state participated in Missouri Manufacturing Day.
This holiday was declared by Governor Jay Nixon as part of a larger national initiative designed to address common misconceptions about manufacturing and to give local manufacturers the opportunity to open their doors to students and, in a coordinated effort with schools and educators, show what manufacturing really is.
A survey by SME, a nonprofit organization that promotes manufacturing and technology, asked parents their perception of the manufacturing industry and found:
- Over 20 percent believe the industry to be outdated and/or a dirty work environment
- Half did not see manufacturing as an exciting or challenging profession
- 25 percent did not perceive manufacturing to be a well-paying profession
- Many manufacturing environments are clean rooms with laboratory-like settings
- Manufacturing offers career opportunities to every education level from high school diplomas to Ph.D.s, seeking those with a vast array of skills
- Average annual salary for manufacturers is approximately $79,553 — above the national average for all industries at $64,204
The purpose of programs like Manufacturing Day is to address misconceptions believed by parents, and frequently passed down to their children, and for educators — in tandem with career guidance professionals and even employers — to present students with an accurate picture of a diversity of career opportunities that lie ahead post graduation.
In an article by the Guardian, Tristram Hooley, Professor of Career Education at the University of Derby, shares some tips for how teachers can effectively assist students in exploring career options.
One way is to bring the “world of work” into the curriculum whenever possible. “For example, highlighting how a particular scientific process is used in research or industry can increase the perceived relevance of curriculum,” explained Hooley. “Similarly, a discussion of the job of publishers in English literature can enhance the understanding of the text.”
Another way to introduce careers is to bring employers and working professionals into the classroom to shed light on their profession and discuss how they use the knowledge and skills that are covered in the curriculum.
Bachelors in Secondary Education majors at William Woods may have the opportunity to share with students about different career opportunities during the Student Teaching Program, or observe how the schools and educators they work in partnership with approach the subject of career guidance.